Arthur Matthew Aitken

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Arthur Matthew Aitken
Arthur Matthew Aitken.jpg
AWM PO 1405.022 No 4 Service Flying Training School
Arthur Matthew Aitken 2.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 9 Jan 1920
Place of Birth Narrogin, Western Australia
Death 9 Sep 1943
Place of Death Indian Ocean, south west Australia
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 10 months
Description 5'11½" (1.82m) tall ; 140lb
"lb" is not declared as a valid unit of measurement for this property.
; medium complexion ; hazel eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Accountant
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Orchard avenue, Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Hugh Aitken
Military Information
Reg Number 415570
Date of Enlistment 30 Nov 1941
Rank Flying Officer
Unit/Formation No. 14 Squadron RAAF
Post War Details
Fate Accidental death 1943
Monument(s) Armadale War Memorial
WA State War Memorial
Sydney Memorial Rookwood NSW
Australian War Memorial Australian War Memorial
Medals 1939-45 Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Prior to enlisting he was an accountant with the Armadale-Kelmscott Road Board, living with his parents in Orchard avenue, Armadale. He had been a member of the Militia from January to November 1941. He had previously worked for the Public Works Department (2 years) and he had spent time as an Apprentice Tailor.

War Service

Arthur enlisted in the RAAF at No. 4 RAAF Recruiting Centre on 30 Nov 1941, and was mustered as AirCrew TG V. On 5 Dec 1941 he was posted to No. 4 Initial Training School RAAF at Victor Harbour in South Australia where he was a member of Course No. 23 "B" Squadron, Flight 11. On 28 Mar 1942 his pay grade was altered to Air Crew (P) TG II, and he was promoted Leading Aircraftman. On 1 May 1942 he was transferred to No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School RAAF at Cunderdin in Western Australia. Having passed this step in his training he was transferred on 30 Jun 1942 to No. 6 Service Flying Training School RAAF at Mallala in South Australia. Arthur was discharged from the RAAF as an enlisted man on 18 Nov 1942 on receipt of a Commission in the RAAF from 19 Nov 1943 as a Pilot Officer.

On 6 Dec 1942 Arthur was transferred to No. 1 General Reconnaissance School RAAF, and on 9 Feb 1943 he was transferred to the No. 1 Operational Training Unit RAAF at Bairnsdale. On 19 May 1943 Arthur was promoted to Flying Officer. On 17 Jun 1943 Arthur joined No. 14 Squadron RAAF flying Beaufort aircraft based at Pearce Airbase. He flew his first flight for them on 1 Jul 1943.

Arthur was the pilot of a Bristol Beaufort from No. 14 Squadron RAAF. The plane left Busselton at 11:50am to carry out Patrol 'N', a clearing patrol from D'Entrecastreaux Point to Rottnest Island, then on to Pearce Airbase, due there at 4:30pm on 9 Sep 1943. At 2:30pm, the plane reported sighting MV Nordnes about 45 nautical miles (about 83km) due west of D'Entrecastreaux Point. The Nordnes' later reported that the plane appeared to be flying normally. The Bristol Beaufort was nick named "Flying Coffins' as more than 90 crashed due to a faulty assembly of the controls during construction.

5 Missing In Lost Aircraft PERTH, Wednesday. — Four members of the RAAF and one Army officer are reported missing as the result of the loss of an aircraft off the coast of Western Australia on September 10. The men are: F/O A. M. Aitken, of Armadale (WA) ; F/O Cedric Sutton Richards, of Middle Park (Vic.) ; F/Sgt. Peter Douglas Hastle, of Mount Lawley (WA) ; F/Sgt. Alexander Emerson, of Camberwell (Vic.), and Captain Harry Donald Kolbigof, of Adelaide.[1]

Pilot of Beaufort A9-317 that took off from Busselton RAAF base on a seaward clearing search from D'Entrecasteaux Point to Rottnest Island. Four crew. Son of Hugh and Minnie Louisa Aitken .

  • Sydney Memorial

  • Arthur is commemorated on Panel 5. The Memorial is located in a corner of the Rockwood Cemetery west of Sydney. It is one of several which commemorate men of the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Merchant Navy who lost their lives in the south-west Pacific region during the 1939-45 War, and who have no known grave. The men commemorated on the Sydney Memorial were lost in the eastern and southern regions of Australia and in adjacent waters south of Latitude 20 degrees South.


    Information from an ABC story sourced to Pamela Harrison - accessed 30 Oct 2019.

    1. Trove - The Sun (Sydney) Wed 15 Sep 1953 Page 3.

    The story of the disappearance of Beaufort A9-317 is told on pages 18-20 of the October 2023 "Listening Post" published by RSLWA. It includes a photo of Arthur.

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